I love Baptists who “get” Advent. And John Piper and his colleagues at Desiring God produce some wonderful Advent resources each year. Here’s an excerpt from a great Advent Reflection: Let a Little Lent into Your Advent
As comfortable as it might be to parse out our celebrations and keep our holiday sentimentals in their own clearly labeled boxes, we cannot keep Bethlehem and Golgotha apart without losing what Christmas really is. There’s a place for focusing on the stable, the shepherds, and the wonder of the incarnation, but to appreciate the depth of what is happening here, we must keep Calvary’s hill on the horizon.
This Is No Circus Act
If we quarantine Jesus’s birth from his death and resurrection, we cut out the heart of what’s so dazzling about Christmas. This shockingly spectacular event — God becoming man, full divinity and full humanity joined in one person — doesn’t just captivate our attention, but captures us for this God-man. We are involved. It is our rescue in view. In the words of the old creed, this incarnation is “for us and for our salvation.”
Christmas is a stunning show. The almighty Ancient of Days is born a frail and fragile babe. But this is not some marvel we watch from a distance, nameless faces in a sea of disconnected spectators. We’re not mere fanatics of the hero, but known and loved by him. And his heroics are not for our entertainment, but our everlasting joy.
At Christmas, we’re not restricted to the upper deck, kept to the bleachers, tucked behind a barrier, but brought onto the field, onto the team of the superstar, given a jersey. The astonishing ontological feat he accomplishes in his incarnation is not a circus act for whomever, but an act of love for us.
Born to Bear the Cross
From the very beginning, from Bethlehem and before, Jerusalem’s tree and empty tomb linger in the distance and give meaning to every angel song and magi gift.